Since 2005, Judy Leff has been teaching music to young children at While They’re Little, now operating out of in Port Washington. There, newborns and toddlers learn the importance of musical expression. Leff explains the goals of her program.
What type of classes do you offer?
We offer an internationally known early childhood music and movement program called Music Together. Through Music Together, we’re showing families how to use music in their everyday lives and why it’s so important to nurture and develop a child’s musical self from birth. We also help adults find their own inner musician. Many [adults] are surprised to find out that they’re musical, even though they say they’re not. The parents do a lot of learning about musical development in children and how it helps them in every other aspect of their life. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a once a week, 45-minute class that involves singing, dancing, and playing with your child.
How important is it for children to be exposed to music at an early age?
I think it’s incredibly important…We’re all born to be able to receive and express music and it’s up to us to help them learn how to do that. It’s got so many amazing benefits to a very young child. It certainly helps with neurological and physical development. It’s comforting and means so much to them. As they grow, it means so much more. It’s been shown to help with all kind of other developments.
Why did you decide to start While They’re Little?
I had just left my job as an actuary, which is the complete opposite world, after my daughter was born. I was home with two children and I didn’t know what to do with them. Music Together, because it’s a mixed age class (everyone from newborns to five years old), was something I could do with both children. I was floored when I first came in. As a parent, it opened up my eyes to what was going on with my children and how I could support them. I fell in love with the program and felt I needed to share this with every single child and family that I met.
What are the demo classes like?
It’s a taste of what regular classes are like. It’s a 45-minute snap shot. The actual class is anywhere between a 10 and a 12-week session. The demo is a real, hands-on way to come and see what goes on in the class.
How far in advance to families have to register for a class?
Our spring session starts in the beginning of April. We’ll start taking registrations in three weeks. Some classes are very popular and fill up quickly. Some are not. The sooner [you register] the better.